RANCHO RS5000 SHOCK ABSORBER INSTALLATION

The information below is an installation guide for installing Rancho RS5000 Shocks on a 2000 Dodge Durango.  In general the information should be readily transferable to other shock absorber brands, however if may not be pertinent to other models of Durango.

Compared to some other vehicles replacing the shock absorbers on the Durango is very simple.  Since the Durango has leaf springs on the rear, there are no coil springs to deal with, and likewise since it uses torsion bars on the front there are no springs at all to deal with.

The steps are relatively simple and there is nothing terribly technical, special, or unforgiving about them.  One person working alone should be able to replace all four shocks in about 2 hours.  Basically it's just a matter of unbolting the old shocks and bolting the new ones on.  The hardest part is getting the old, rusty nuts loose.

TOOLS REQUIRED
oWD-40 or other penetrant
oRatchet (1/2" drive preferred for leverage)
oBreaker bar, second ratchet, or large Crescent wrench
oTorque Wrench
o15mm regular depth socket
o18mm deep well socket
oCrescent wrench
o9/16" Crows-Foot wrench
The torque wrench and Crows-Foot wrench are highly recommended, however you can get by without them.  If you do not tighten the nuts to the recommended torque value, you do so at your own risk.

PREPARATION
a) There is one bolt holding the top of each rear shock in a bracket and one bolt holding the bottom of each rear shock in a bracket.  Hose both nuts thoroughly with WD-40 and allow it to penetrate for a while (overnight is best!)
b) The front has a nut over a threaded stem on top and a bolt into a threaded mount (no nut!) on the bottom.  Hose both nuts thoroughly with WD-40 and allow it to penetrate for a while (overnight is best!)
c) MAKE SURE ALL THE COMPONENTS OF YOUR SHOCKS ARE ACCOUNTED FOR!  Read the instructions that came with your shocks thoroughly and understand exactly what you are doing before you start.  Make sure all parts are included, and assembled properly.  The rear Ranchos should have a shock, a boot, and a tie-wrap to secure the boot.  The fronts should have (at least!) a shock, a boot, a tie-wrap to secure the boot, a sleeve to go through the bottom bushing, a 9/16" nut for the top stem, a set of bushings for the top stem, and a set of washers for the top stem.  Note that I did not use the bushings or washers for the front shocks.  They did not appear to be the same size as those on the factory shocks, so I used the original bushings and washers.
d) Install the boots on the shocks.  Moisten the inside of the boot with soapy water, household cleaner, or just water to allow sliding the boot over the shock body easier.  The top of the boot has a groove that fits over the plate at the top of the shock.  Slide teh boot about halfway down the shock body and secure it with the tie-wrap provided.  Snap the top of the boot over the retainer.

REAR SHOCKS
a) You do not necessarily need to jack the rear of the vehicle up or use a lift.  That choice is yours.  It is recommended that you remove the spare tire so that you will have more room to work.
b) Loosen and remove the bottom bolt from the shock.  You will need a 15mm and 18mm deep-well socket for this.  They are usually rusty and take some pretty good force to get them loose.
c) Loosen and remove the top bolt from the shock.  You will need a 15mm and 18mm deep-well socket for this.  They are usually rusty and take some pretty good force to get them loose.
d) Drop the old shock out.
e) Put the new shock in place and install the top bolt through the bracket and the bushing in the shock.  Hand tighten only at this point.  Note that the rear Rancho shocks can be installed with the boot at the top or the bottom.  Check for clearance between the shock boot and the exhaust pipe if they are mounted with the boot on top.  I have about 1" clearance and that seems to be sufficient.
f) Compress the shock slightly and install the bottom bolt and nut.  Hand tighten only at this time.  Rancho shocks compress relatively easy, however other brands may be difficult.  If it is difficult to compress the shock, jack the vehicle up enough to get the shock in the bracket, and support it with jackstands before proceeding.  DO NOT work underneath it supported only by a jack!
g) Tighten both the upper and lower bolts to 80 ft lb torque.
h) Lower the vehicle and replace the spare tire as necessary.

FRONT SHOCKS
a) You do not necessarily need to jack the front of the vehicle up or remove the front tire, however doing so will make the installation easier.  I just turned the front wheels out and worked behind them and had no trouble.  That choice is yours, however be sure to properly support the vehicle with jackstands if you choose to jack it up.  DO NOT work underneath it supported only by a jack!
b) Loosen and remove the bottom bolt from the shock  You will need an 18mm socket to do this.  It bolts into a threaded mount on the lower A-frame so there is no nut on it.
c) Remove the nut from the top mounting stem.  You will need to hold the stem with a Crescent wrench and use an open-end wrench to loosen the nut (sorry, I don't remember what size open-end wrench is required).
d) Drop the original shock out and remove it.
e) Install the top of the new shock into the mount.  A bushing will go on the plate on the top of the shock, then the shock will go through the mount on the frame, another bushing on top, a retainer washer, and then a nut.  In other words the mount on the frame is sandwiched between two bushings.  The retainer plate on the shock is below the lower bushing and a large retainer washer is on top of the top bushing.  Hand tighten the nut only for now.
f) IMPORTANT!  You MUST use a new nut on the top stem of the shock or use Mopar Lock-N-Seal or Loctite 242 to secure the nut if you use the old nut.  Failure to do so may result in the nut backing off with very bad results!
g) Compress the shock slightly and install the bottom bolt.  Hand tighten only at this point.  Rancho shocks compress relatively easy, however other brands may be difficult.  If it is difficult to compress the shock, jack the vehicle up enough to get the shock in the bracket, and support it with jackstands before proceeding.  DO NOT work underneath it supported only by a jack!
h) Tighten the lower bolt to 80 ft lb of torque.
i) Tighten the upper bolt to 19 ft lb of torque.  This is somewhat difficult to do because you will have to use a crows-foot wrench and calculate a correction for your torque wrench.  The stem must be held at the top with a Crescent wrench or 6mm wrench otherwise the piston will just turn inside the shock body as you tighten the nut.  A crows-foot wrench is basically an open-end wrench that fits on a torque wrench or ratchet.  Since it effectively increases the length of the torque wrench this causes the torque setting to be off.  You will have to measure the distance between the center of the wrench end of the crows-foot and the center of the drive point.  Refer to the instructions that came with your torque wrench for details.  If you do not have them I can send you the information that came with mine, however it may not be correct for your wrench!
j) An alternative to using a crows-foot wrench for the top stem is to "Eyeball" the tension.  The instructions that came with your shocks will usually describe this, and basically it is just tightening the nut until the bushings are compressed a certain amount.



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